Thursday, October 12, 2006

Interfaces and communication. - part 2


27/04/2006


Interfaces and communication. - part 2

We ended up with a question: what happens to creativity, intuition, flexibility when there is a strict protocol governing the interfaces?
Uh... nothing, what does a communication protocol has to do with the triggered actions? About nothing. Being creative in problem-solving, for example, means to do something different (and expectedly with an advantage) in reply to the usual imput. This choice is left intact but is critical that all the informations required flow correctly.
A great effort should be done to ensure that intercompany communication is formalized and complete. Everything, but informal coffe-machine talks, should be normalized. A classical view of the company focuses on the processes taking place. Information and goods flow through the company in order to achieve the ultimate goal, having cash flowing in in the proper way. This view has the merit to focus on the operations that are what keep a company alive (what operations to carry on is decided by strategy, but this is another tale). Keeping processes working keep cash flowing in.
What is the single most important factor for an efficient communication?The single point rule.Information should be conveyed to a single entrance queue to be processed. Receiving mails, phone calls, faxes, words from the hallway, it is all unavoidable. What should not be done is keeping the information in the original format. All the information should be put in a single place to be picked up and acted over. May be a specific piece of software or an in-out physical basket, but a single point is invaluable to organize the activity. There are a number of excellent books who teach this.
The process of sorting incoming information is time consuming, so whoever needs to communicate, had better knowing the best format for the receiving end. This, in a controlled environment, like a company, can be achieved.
So, we are back to the initial point.
In the next essay, we'll see a real world example of how an help desk efficency greatly improved through the adoption of few rules.
Stay tuned.

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